32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 9-12): God of Life
(You could begin by reading the scripture passage. Better yet, ask someone to read it to you. The Word of God is meant to be heard.)
In the Gospel this Sunday, some people ask Jesus a trick question in order to prove that there is no life after death. Jesus, of course, does not play their game.
Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and asked him a question...
Among the Jewish people at the time of Jesus are a group of people called the Sadducees. The Sadducees believe that only the Torah, only the first five books of the Bible given to Moses, is the Word of God. They study it and study it. They are not interested in what other prophets have to say, only Moses. The Torah does not speak about resurrection so the Sadducees do not believe in it. It annoys them that other Jewish people do believe in resurrection. They want to prove their point.
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”
We get it—a trick question. A woman cannot be the wife of seven men at the same time. That would be against God's law. Jesus cannot answer this question. Resurrection does not make sense. Death is final. They have proved their point.
Jesus does not answer their question, but he answers them. He says,
“Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.
He calls those who rise from the dead "children." Children are newly born into life. The way Jesus speaks of death is not as something final. He speaks of death as a birth into life.
Jesus knows they do not understand so he refers them to the Torah, the Word of God they know so well.
And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
What?? The Sadducees must be shocked. The Torah does not speak about resurrection; that is why they do not believe. How can Jesus say that Moses himself showed this?
Jesus reminds them of the moment in the Torah when God speaks to Moses, more than 500 years before Jesus was born. Moses sees a bush that is on fire, but it is not getting burnt. He is fascinated and moves closer to see what is going on.
Then God says,
“I AM the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” - Exodus 3:6
"I AM the God of Abraham," not "I was the God of Abraham."
Jesus tells them,
Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”
They live in God.
In the Torah, Moses asks for God's name, and God tells Moses,
“I AM WHO I AM.”
In Hebrew, this name—"I AM who I AM"—is written with four letters, YHWH. The name is so holy, the Jewish people never say it aloud. We respect that. We do not say it aloud either.
The name has no vowels.
If pronounced, it would be the sound of breath.
Our God is the God of life.